CFP: The Materials of Mourning: Death, Materiality and Memory in Victorian Britain

The Materials of Mourning: Death, Materiality and Memory in Victorian Britain
3 December 2011, Centre for Modern Studies, University of York
Proposals due: 15 September 2011

Keynote speaker: Marcia Pointon

‘The death of Prince Albert has turned England into a land of mourning.’
Lord Dufferin, February 1862

Timed to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Prince Albert’s death, this one-day symposium seeks to investigate how grief was manifested and mourning facilitated in the Victorian period through literature, music, performance and the visual arts. Often satirised but rarely understood, this symposium aims to recover the rich culture of mourning in the Victorian period by showcasing current research and encouraging conversation, debate and interdisciplinary exchange.

The day will conclude with a roundtable to which delegates are invited to bring an object or picture related to Victorian death culture, prompting discussion about the tangibility of grief and mourning and the impact of material culture on our own research.

We warmly invite proposals for twenty-minute papers from postgraduates and early-career researchers with backgrounds in history of art, history, literature, music, performance studies and other related humanities.

Topics for discussion may include but are not limited to:

  • Ritual: ceremonies, funerals, masses, cremations.
  • Commercialisation: dark tourism, souvenirs, celebrities and villains.
  • Spaces of Mourning: cemeteries, churchyards, death chambers, mausolea.
  • Craft and Fashion: embroidery, needlework, mourning costume and jewellery.
  • Representations: death and mourning in literature, music, performance and the visual arts.
  • Objects: how objects and texts were used in the mourning process (annotations, keepsakes, scrapbooks.)
  • Class, Gender, Nationality: aberrant and conventional accounts of mourning from different social perspectives.

Please submit abstracts limited to 250 words to the conference organisers, Eoin Martin and Claire Wood, at materialsofmourning@gmail.com by 15 September 2011.

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